Last post on May 11, 2010 at 11:16 AM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class
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Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Sedan
#5466 of 6720 Questions From A Dissapointed BMW 5 Driver Considering the E320
Dec 09, 2003 (8:23 am)
I have a 2001 BMW 530i that is coming off lease. As with many others, I am really put-off by the appearance of the new BMW 5 series. I am giving very serious consideration to the 2004 E320. I have spent only a few minutes behind the wheel of a 2004 RWD E320 -- not enough yet. I should have an opportunity for a more extensive test ride in the near future.
I'd like to ask a few questions -- especially for those of you who have experience with both cars.
First, tell me your views on the sport suspension which is only available as part of the appearance package. I've never found it necessary to get the sport package on my BMW sedans. One issue that I have with these packages (both the BMW and Mercedes) is that they include high performance tires that are most certainly not intended for winter driving. If I go with the Mercedes sport package in order to improve the handling to something that gets closer to what I am used to, have I just assured myself of the need to change my tires to handle the winter in Chicago?
The BMW has a near 50-50 weight distribution and it has been easy for me to handle in all but the worst winter weather in Chicago. I've never bothered with snow tires. My neighbor, with a 1999 or 2000 E320 complains about how his car handles in the snow. Maybe this difference is attributable to different expectations or driving style and not the cars. How is the RWD E320 in the snow? What is the weight distribution? Can you compare the snow handling of the E320 to the 530i?
I am intrigued by the availability of 4Matic on the E320. Years ago, when I lived in the northeast, I had an Audi 4000 Quattro. The all wheel drive was great and the car handled like a champ year-round. What effect should I expect the 4Matic to have on acceleration, braking and fair weather handling. I have no doubt that it will make the car much easier to handle in foul weather. Because the 4Matic is in limited supply, I may not have an opportunity to drive one in the near future. If the RWD and 4Matic versions of the car have a similar feel but for the ability of the 4Matic to handle foul weather better, I might consider ordering it without driving first (although I'd really need to be confident).
The timing of my lease is really complicating matters for me!
#5467 of 6720 My 2000 E430 sport
Dec 09, 2003 (12:00 pm)
Marsha7-- After four years of ownership and 23,000 miles, my seats are great. I've driven the car 1,800 miles on a 3 day trip once and I found that the "multi-contour" seats with the airbag system were wonderful.
Rich-- My E430 has the sport suspension and I wouldn't buy it again. The car has a tight/rough ride. Of course, you can probably go a around a corner at 60 MPH and not lose control because the car hugs the ground. I like the look of the trim work around the car but the ride is rough.
#5469 of 6720 Seats and rerobbins
Dec 09, 2003 (5:16 pm)
Traded an S430 for an 03' E500. Seats were a problem but after 3 wks found the correct setting for me. Interestingly, my wife's E320 wagon was just fine(seats) but her new Volvo xc90 is superior in comfort. Bottom line is that you really do need to sit in the car for at least the amount of time you commute to work.
Hey rerobbins, was in your boat if you have been reading posts. E320 with sport really gets you the air matic suspension which is why I went E500(standard). It's really nice.Comfort setting is Lexus plush and tight setting is close to BMW. $ for $ you may get more MB now. By the way 4 matic feels the same.
#5470 of 6720 4Matic Feels the Same
Dec 09, 2003 (5:28 pm)
What do you mean by 4Matic feels the same? Are you saying that it doesn't really detract from the handling characteristics you described?
I'm a bit concerned that in order to get the airmatic suspension in the E320 I will need to order the appearance package, which includes some sort of high performance tire that is designed primarily for dry pavement. My fear is that I'll end up with a car that's not as reliable on wet or snowy pavement and that I'd need to invest in another set of tires for the winter -- even if I go with the 4Matic. What do you think?
Dec 10, 2003 (7:08 am)
Can't tell 4matic is on car I test drove but I don't have it.If you are concerned with weather as I was, sport package is a pain. Did you consider an E500 2003. I got mine $6k under sticker . Sounds close to a built up E320. I have no issues in snow so far here in Cleveland. Slip diff works great.
#5472 of 6720 Question for JPrescott1
Dec 10, 2003 (7:50 am)
I thought that the E320 sport package included the airmatic suspension and high performance tires and that both of these are standard on the E500.
Are you saying that the E500 includes the airmatic suspension but tires more suitable for all season driving?
Dec 10, 2003 (10:45 am)
Talk to dealer about it but yes airmatic standard in E500 and year round tires are standard. I believe sport tires are an option. Unfortunatly E320 does not offer airmatic as stand alone option. Sport is just appearance(more agressive look) and airmatic.By the way, you should be able to at least test a C with 4matic to check it out.
#5474 of 6720 Re Airmatic and High Performance Tires
Dec 10, 2003 (10:52 am)
I wonder if a dealer would swap the high performance tires included in the E320 appearance package for year round tires.
Is there a strong reason why I should avoid that approach?
Dec 10, 2003 (11:05 am)
This is my 3rd MB. Some dealers are good some bad. Some sales guys are reasonable but most want to see you go for the extra charge of another tire set and the twice a year charge to swap. Worth a try.